I know very well that I shouldn't be eating anymore of these 😱 But, coming from the land of skinny ducks (Malaysia, Singapore), I just couldn't resist and couldn't stop till I have tasted as much of Toronto's fat roast ducks as possible 😂
So, I came to House of Gourmet 满庭芳 on Dundas Street West twice to spread out the cholesterol.
Typical Cantonese roasts on display at the window of House of Gourmet. I've lost count of the number of these I've seen around the world but still couldn't keep my camera in my pocket 😋
The noodle chef in steamy action in the other window at the front of the shop.
How many times can I walk pass this and not step inside, right?
House of Gourmet enjoys much favourable mention in social media. The ambiance inside probably had a part in it - it's bright and clean, though still a humble, casual welcoming space. They play easy listening Western classical music in the background instead of heart tugging Cantonese ballads 😃
I love hole-in-the-wall mom and pop shops with sticky, greasy floors and tables 😱 as long as the food is good. But, there are obvious merits to a nicer environment especially when hosting guests.
Service is as usual at such places - efficient and polite, but no effort at rapport with customers especially when the shop is busy, which is most of the time. Regulars are treated better, which is totally understandable.
Singleton? No issue. They have a large round table to seat all the singles together 😁
I had char siew with egg noodles.
The char siew was tender but almost completely lean. Mildly sweet-savoury, it's just average tasting roast pork.
The egg noodles were generic. The texture made me think of rubber bands or soft wire. They have a firm bite but not springy. The sauce was commercial "oyster" sauce, so it was flat salty and combined rather poorly with the noodles' quite pronounced alkaline taste.
I also had the roast duck with noodle soup.
The dish come with a duck drumstick. I like the flavour of the mild savoury marinade and the tender duck meat's gentle gaminess. Of course, drumsticks don't have the fat I covet 😆
The same generic egg noodles but I like it better dunked in soup. The savoury broth soaked away some of the rubberiness 😁
The second time I ate at House of Gourmet, I specifically requested for duck breast as I wanted to be sure to get the lovely fat 😃
The staff told me that I had to pay more if I wanted a specific cut, which I readily agreed.
The juicy fat and tender meat was good. But, it would be better for me had the skin been crisp. It was soft even though it was served dry (not dunked in soup). The savoury marinade was mild, lacked layers and a little flat tasting. The food was served cold (Cantonese roasts are served as "cold cuts" here).
I also asked for a fatty cut of siew yok (roast pork). It was indeed the cut I love - with skin, fat and meat.
The golden brown skin was crisp with a bit of stiffness like a biscuit. As the dish was served cold, the fat firmed a little, reminding me of gelatin instead of warm porky juice (which I prefer). Flavour was mild savouriness with a bit of natural porky sweetness.
👉 If you like milder flavours, House of Gourmet would be a good choice for Cantonese roasts in downtown Toronto. The environment is nice too. Prices are reasonable - just a slight premium over the mom and pop hole-in-the-wall shops.
I want to come back to House of Gourmet to try their set meal packages. They have set meals for two with interesting combinations of lobster, fish and meat dishes at under CDN50. (They have literally hundreds of dishes in their menu 😃 )
Parking is available directly across Dundas Street West from House of Gourmet.
Restaurant name: House of Gourmet 满庭芳
Address: 484 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1H1
GPS: 43°39'11.2"N 79°23'49.9"W | 43.653124, -79.397204
Tel: (416) 640-0103
Hours: 8:00am to 2:00am
Date: 23 Mar 2017